What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling establishment, is a place where people can gamble. It is a popular form of entertainment, and there are several places where one can find a casino, such as Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Casinos are also commonly found on American Indian reservations, where they are not subject to state antigambling laws.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is likely that people have been attempting to predict the outcome of events for millennia. It is believed that early forms of gambling included robbing, dice rolling and betting on horse races. The casino as a facility where multiple types of gambling are available under one roof is a relatively recent development, dating from the 16th century. During this time, a gambling craze swept Europe, and wealthy nobles would meet in private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize [Source: Schwartz].

Because large amounts of money are handled within casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. As such, most casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures. Modern casinos often employ a combination of physical security personnel and a specialized surveillance department. The latter usually has cameras located throughout the casino, which are monitored by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors. This system is sometimes called the eye in the sky, and it allows security to instantly view any suspicious activity.